A home business has some undeniable advantages – particularly if you’re a working parent. It lets you earn money and make something out of your life without spending too much time away from your family. There’s a convenience and flexibility that comes from running a home business, but it does have a few flaws.
Primarily, you have to deal with both your personal and professional lives on your doorstep. Separating the two can be challenging, especially when you want to maintain a level of privacy. Throughout this guide, you’ll quickly learn how to maintain privacy while running a home business. You’ll also be surprised to learn how simple this can be, meaning you can run your business without worrying about your personal and professional lives crossing!
Here’s what you should do:
Set up a business address
Obviously, one of the major concerns – from a privacy perspective – is that your home address is out in the public domain. You should have a website set up for your business, including contact details for people to get in touch via telephone, email, or direct mail. Therefore, everyone will know where you live.
The good news is that there is a way to work around this. Effectively, you can set up a business address that’s separate from your personal one. Now, this is one of the different types of company addresses that a business can have. Your business will have a registered office, a service address, and a business address. Each one has a separate purpose for legal reasons, but your business address is the one that most people will see. Thus, you can get yourself a virtual address that suggests your company is based in a different location.
With a virtual business address, you can show people that you work in a business district in an office somewhere impressive. They will have no idea where you actually work, and it doesn’t matter in the slightest. The beauty of a home business is that most of your job is done remotely, usually online. There’s no need for people to know that you’re working from home, and a virtual business address maintains your privacy and keeps your home address out of the public eye.
Get a business phone number
Similarly, it makes sense to have a phone number that’s dedicated to your business. You can do this by getting a second mobile phone and using that as your only contact number for your business. Technically, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with this as you are separating your personal life from your professional life. It means you won’t get lots of business calls through to your landline or personal mobile, which is fantastic.
The only minor issue – and it is minor – is that you have a mobile phone number as your business contact number. For some people, this can feel a bit unprofessional and might not reflect well on your brand image. It really depends on what your business does, and most consumers don’t care too much about it. However, if you operate in the B2B market, you might prefer to have a proper business telephone number.
If you would prefer to have an actual business number for your home business, there are online services where you can purchase them. In essence, you can get your separate mobile phone, but buy a business number that reroutes calls to the mobile. Effectively, you’re buying a landline number but getting the calls through your mobile. It’s more practical than setting up an entirely separate landline at home, and you get the benefit of maintaining a more professional image while retaining all of your privacy.
Hold meetings in a separate location
Do you need to meet with clients or leads? If so, the thought of bringing them to your home can fill you with dread. For one, it’s hardly the most professional setting for a meeting, even if you have a home office. Secondly, you are literally letting strangers know where you live. What happens if the meeting goes badly and the client decides to leave you for a different business? Or, what if you meet with a lead and realize they’re actually rather strange and you don’t want to do business with them? You’ve let these people know where you live, so your privacy and safety are somewhat compromised.
Instead, you need to hold meetings in separate locations. This could be a coffee shop, which is where an abnormal number of business deals happen nowadays! Or, it could be in a virtual office location. Do you remember the business address you created for yourself? Well, some virtual address services will let you have access to the actual physical office that the address is located in. You can book out rooms for meetings as and when you need them, allowing you to maintain this professional persona. Of course, from a privacy point of view, you also keep your home address to yourself and don’t have to deal with people coming into your house.
Use a VPN while working
Lastly, you need to consider your privacy from an online perspective. When it comes to your online presence, it’s vital to have a managed it services company covering you, that offers a variety of services and remote support for any issues you may have in regard to this matter.
You are going to spend all of your time connected to the internet when running a business from home. Already, this puts you at risk – especially when using a regular residential internet connection. They’re not the most secure things in the world, but there’s additional risk when you’re a business owner.
Hackers aren’t likely to target individuals or homeowners with ransomware or other threats. Why? Because they know that businesses are where the money’s at. As such, your business could become the target of hackers, seeing as they tend to go after smaller companies with poor cybersecurity. If there’s a breach in your network, it puts all of your private information at risk. They will know where you actually live, thanks to your IP address, and so much more.
Consequently, you have to find ways to protect yourself from these threats while working. The easiest way of doing this is by using a VPN (a virtual private network). There are endless VPN service providers out there that can help you set one up in seconds. The main idea is that you create a private network that only you have access to. Everything that you do will be hidden, meaning you can browse the internet in peace, safe in the knowledge that you’re heavily protected from cyber threats. This also means you can use your normal internet connection while keeping your business operations private.
In conclusion, there are definitely some privacy issues to worry about when running a home business. Mainly, it’s all about keeping your private and personal details as secure as possible. Even though you are running your business from home, you don’t need everyone to know your address or telephone number. This can lead to so many complications, as well as invasions of privacy. Thankfully, changing your business address and getting a separate number can solve these issues. Hiring out meeting spaces or meeting clients in coffee shops will also go a long way to maintaining your privacy and keeping people away from your home.
Then, you have cybersecurity issues to worry about as well. By protecting yourself online, you prevent instances where hackers can access your network and see all of your personal information. The great thing about all of the tips in this guide is that they are very easy for anyone to implement. It’s really just a case of setting things up, then enjoying a new level of privacy while you work.